Posts Tagged ‘lepa-lepa’


Sabah Museum – The Heritage Village
Situated about 5 minutes from the Kota Kinabalu city centre, the Heritage Village is located at the Sabah Museum Complex along the Jalan Bukit Istana Lama, Kota Kinabalu. The Sabah Museum Heritage Village was officiated by His Excellency the Head of State Tun Said Keruak on 15th July 1990 during the 25th anniversary celebration of the Sabah Museum.

The Heritage Village displays traditional replica houses which are mostly made out from bamboo and wood, there are the houses of the Lotud, Bisaya, Brunei, Rungus, Bajau, Brunei, Chinese, Suluk and Iranun tribe from various ethnic group in Sabah. Sits at the surrounding of The Heritage Village compound are the ethnological gardens that consist of green natural plants and small lake which covers an area of 16.96 hectors of lush green planted jungle. Opens Daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

16th Regatta Lepa Water Festival 2009
The Annual Water Festival of the Sea Gypsy in Sabah


Venue : Semporna, Sabah.
Date : 18th to 19th April 2009
Day 1 : Regatta Lepa 2009 launching, Bajau Cultural performances (Igal–Igal Dance and Joget Semporna)
Day 2 : Traditional boat tug of war, boat racing competition (Keleh keleh), Lepa boat parade.

Regatta Lepa is a dramatic cultural event held annually in Semporna town, the east coast of Sabah. Regatta Lepa is a festival to celebrates the Bajau tradition for their craftsmanship skilled in hand-made boat making. ‘Lepa’ itself means a ‘boat that hand-made crafted’ in Bajau Semporna language, usually measured about 5-7 meters long. During the Regatta Lepa festivals, there will be a competition of decorative Lepa boats, a battle to show off which Lepa boats are the best.


Tribe : Bajau
The Bajau tribe are one of the largest ethnic group in Sabah, Borneo Malaysia. Nowadays, there are also known as the “cowboys of the east” who originally has been believed migrated from the southern Philippines about few hundreds years ago. The Bajau are the fisherman, divers and farmers, they were also once before the most dangerous pirates within the Sulu Sea and various seas surrounding the Indonesian island in Sulawesi. While Bajau in the south eastern part of Sabah are very skillful with craftsmanship work where they built their own traditional fishing boat called lepa-lepa boat, they are also known as the Sea Bajau for this. These unique lepa-lepa boats are featured on every annual festival held in Semporna and these boats are decorated with colorful decoration and raced against each other in an annual celebration called Regatta Lepa which explains why they are still commonly called the “sea gypsies”.

Did You Know?
The most significant + symbolic animals to the Bajau is buffalo and horse.